The release date of Contact marks the ten-year anniversary of Margaret Chardiet’s project, Pharmakon. While working on her newest release, she began to evaluate the project as a whole. Though the content of each record has been very different and specific, the pervading question, which has underlined them all, is what is means to be human. Her last album, Bestial Burden, focused on the disconnect between mind and body, looking at the human as an isolated consciousness stuck inside of a rotting vessel. For Contact, she wanted to look at the other side of the spectrum – the moments when our mind can come outside of and transcend our bodies.
Because an album is itself an object, she struggled with how to convey the transcendence of the physical, through a physical medium. She started to study trance states and equate her live performances to them. In trance states, music and the body are used to transcend the physical form and make contact with some outside force. In the live setting, she used sound and her body to create an exchange of energy and make contact with outside forces - humanity, empathy, the audience. This energy/empathy exchange has always been at the heart of a Pharmakon performance, but she felt that on records, it wasn’t translating. They were one-sided and flat – declarations rather than conversations. She decided to structure the compositions of each side of Contact after the four stages of trance: preparation, onset, climax, and resolution. By using these stages as a biorhythm for the album, she animates it, and instills the intention of communion into the music.
From the disputed border somewhere between Lancashire and Yorkshire, G..H. claims a no mans land where he is free to decimate distinctions between black metal, grime and concrète techno by drawing upon an elusive, metaphysical force that’s exclusively common to music rooted in that region; from Muslimgauze and Autechre thru Shackleton and Demdike Stare.
The inarguably mongrel Housebound Demigod is G.H.’s debut solo album, following the Ground EP (2011) and his involvement with the hexed Pendle Coven project & HATE, alongside Miles Whittaker and Andy Stott, respectively, between 2003 – 2009.
It sounds like nothing out there; the result of countless hours at the grindstone, using sound as tonal therapy and a purely expressive sculptural material to best render the feel of his bleak but extraordinarily beautiful surroundings with all the rugged texture and captivating aesthetic of some ancient cave graffiti.
Ben Vince makes music purely with the saxophone, creating a collage of melodies, textures and rhythms, twisted and pitched, expanding the sound palette whilst stretching the formula with improvised live sets.
Since surfacing with his debut album in April this year on Blank Editions (responsible for recent output of Thurston Moore, Tomaga & Housewives), Vince continues with occasional radio shows on Radar Radio and NTS as well as gigs with Charles Hayward and upcoming artists in London's experimental music network.